Ahead of tonight's match against the Colorado Rapids, MLSsoccer.com correspondent Scott French published a telling interview with LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan.
Donovan, who expects to play tonight, told French about the Galaxy's ambitions to qualify among the Western Conference's top three seeds and avoid playing in MLS' play-in round.
Below are Donovan's thoughts:
DONOVAN: "We've done a lot of hard work to get back in the mix. All we can control is to keep winning our games. We're hopeful Portland and Dallas and Colorado and Chivas can steal points off some of these guys down the stretch, but if not, all we can concentrate on is trying to win games and keep putting points on the board and then see where we end up. From where we were, top three would be a fantastic result, but we're pretty greedy around here and we want to finish as high as we can. ... “We're definitely not getting ahead of ourselves. The chance to be in the playoffs after 13 games [and a 3-7-2 start] was pretty slim at that point, so we're happy where we are, but we want to keep going and keep pushing.”
LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho has finished six in MLS' 24 Under 24.
CARSON, Calif. -- Finally off the LA Galaxy injury list for the first time since June, Edison Buddle is targetting an expanded role in LA's match on Friday against the Colorado Rapids.
Buddle, who underwent right knee surgery in June, made his first appearance since May 26thduring the Galaxy's victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on September 1st. While the forward admits that he's still working his way back to full fitness, he believes that he can contribute against Colorado.
“I’m ready to play. I’m available and ready to play,” Buddle said following Thursday's training session. “I think that my knee is about 90 percent. Fitness and strength are still to come with the last 10 percent though.”
Buddle may not be completely healthy, but the forward has aspirations of re-gaining a spot in the Galaxy's starting XI.
“I think that it comes with training. I’m pushing hard each and every day in training and I will need to apply that to the games. I don’t expect to go into the games right away unless something happens, but with these guys a little bit fitter than me right now, I have to push myself every day.”
Christian Wilhelmsson is now officially eligible to make his LA Galaxy debut in Friday night's match against the Colorado Rapids.
The club confirmed on Thursday that they have received Wilhelmsson's International Transfer Certificate, clearing the final hurdle for him to become eligible for Friday' game. Wilhelmsson has already received his P-1 visa after traveling to the American Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico on Tuesday.
Wilhelmsson, who has been training with the club since last Friday has already made a pair of Reserve League matches for the Galaxy, but will now be officially eligible to play in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League matches.
LA Galaxy broadcasters Mark Rogondino and Cobi Jones provided their "View from the booth" preview for Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
Check out the video below. We'll have more later today, including another exciting feature.
A few other notes to end your day...
*MLS announced the eight teams involved in the lottery for Marcus Tracy. The Galaxy are not included.
*Toronto FC have been officially eliminated from postseason contention with their 2-1 defeat against the Chicago Fire.
Below is Todd Dunivant's All-Access interview with Joe Tutino.
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane is back from a successful International stint with Ireland and eager for further success with the LA Galaxy in Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
The Irish forward was a focal part of Ireland's dramatic come from behind victory over Kazakhstan as Keane earned a penalty and then scored to help Ireland earn a 2-1 victory. Keane will hope that he can pick up where he left off before leaving for International duty as he scored either a goal or an assist in his last five appearances -- in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League -- prior to leaving for Dublin.
CARSON, Calif. -- Christian Wilhelmsson made his return to LA Galaxy training on Wednesday after an eventful 24 hours for the Swedish winger.
Wilhelmsson missed LA's training session on Tuesday to head down to Mexico to receive his P-1 Visa from the American Consulate in Tijuana. With his Visa in hand, if Wilhelmsson receives his International Transfer Certificate by Friday -- as is expected -- the Swede will be eligible to make his MLS debut in Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids. The 32-year-old described the trip south of the border as a "different experience" but admitted that the process which took several hours to complete went "quite fast" according to club expectations.
Although Wilhelmsson isn't interested in talking about making his debut, he admits that he is quickly acclimating to the club so that he can be ready if his number is called on Friday.
"It's a little bit different, you just want to try to get into the environment and the team. I need these trainings and I need every minutes, even if it's the reserve games, I need every minute to get to know the team.[Debuts] are always special and I just try to give everything and we'll see," said Wilhelmsson. "It's a great group and everyone is making it easy for me to get along. They're all helping me out so that's great."
While Wilhelmsson is adapting on the field, it remains a work in progress off the field as he looks to get his pregnant wife Oksana -- who Wilhelmsson said should be due around January -- and his one-and-half year-old daughter Naomi settled into life in Southern California.
"That's the tricky part. Whenever you move, it takes a lot of energy to get things done. I'm mentally tired just to get everything settled on that side, but I hope that soon it will be done so I can focus on the game," said Wilhelmsson. "Every where you go, a different culture or a different environment, as long as you have your family around you then you can relax. When you come home from training, it's still the same atmosphere...it's a good feeling whether you are in the desert in Saudi Arabia or in Hollywood. It's very important."
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy youth academy boasts many exciting prospects, but one of the brightest stars is midfielder Raul Mendiola.
An 18-year-old from San Bernardino by way of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Mendiola is widely considered one of the top young prospects in the United States having earned U.S. Soccer Development Academy Player of the Year honors twice during his development. Mendiola joined the Galaxy Academy officially last year after two seasons with Temecula-based youth club Arsenal FC and is expected to play a key role with LA's Under-18 squad during the current USSDA season. Since the start of the season, Mendiola has been training regularly with the Galaxy first team -- where he is often inseparable from Jose Villarreal -- and has made six appearances for LA's Reserve League squad.
A creative midfielder in the number 10 mold since his Arsenal days, Mendiola has seen considerable time on the flanks during his time with the Reserves.
Below is my conversation with Mendiola on his prospects with the team and much more...
(On training with the Galaxy and stars like David Beckham and Landon Donovan…)
MENDIOLA: “For me, it’s an honor. It’s not often that every kid gets to train with them. You learn from them too every day. Outside the field, inside the field and it’s just amazing.”
(On his relationship with Villarreal…)
MENDIOLA: “I’ve known him since I was ten. We used to be rival in clubs (Raul with Temecula’s Arsenal and Jose with Torrance’s South Bay Force) and now that we have the chance to be teammates. He helps me and tells me to try hard all the time because you start from the bottom and work your way up to the top…We used to go at it and we didn’t get along back then, but we’ve let that go because we’re with the Galaxy."
(On advice that Villarreal has given him…)
MENDIOLA: “He’s told me when he’s playing out in the stadium that it’s quicker. You have to make quick decisions and it’s faster so people come at you faster. Back in [youth soccer] people wouldn’t come at you and you could take your touches, but he tells me just to work hard. Even though you have a bad practice, it’s just patience because things are going to work out. He does give me a lot of advice, I just stick with him and we’re always together.”
(On his growth as a younger player…)
MENDIOLA: “I guess when I was younger, I dreamed of being in Europe. I’m here and you have to work being here. My family tells me that I have to work to get somewhere because it’s not easy. I have to have patience, but I love it here and the environment. I’m living closer now [in Torrance] and it’s great.”
(On whether or not he could see himself playing for the Galaxy…)
MENDIOLA: “Yeah. Like I said, I love California and I’m hoping that I could make it big here one day.”
(On transitioning to a new position on the midfield flank…)
MENDIOLA: “The [coaches] are very good. It’s hard, but it’s part of soccer and you have to get used to stuff like that. They have me playing left mid and right mid, I usually play in the middle, but I just have to get used to it. They tell me a lot of things and I just have to get used to it until I get it right. Then I have to still work on it in order to get better.”
(On the one part of his game that he could improve on…)
MENDIOLA: “Defending. Landon [Donovan] has told me that it starts off with defending. Not just going forward, but to come back and help out on defense. I try to work on that a lot.”
(On moving on from his hometown of San Bernardino…)
MENDIOLA: It’s hard, San Bernardino is not a good city, but now it’s different. In the past, I’ve been through a lot that stuff, but that’s my city, I love it, but this is a different environment. San Bernardino is really bad, but now I’m in a happy place.”
(On what his family thinks of him training with the Galaxy…)
MENDIOLA: “They are proud. I do go visit them at times, but my family is proud of me wherever I go. My family is still [in San Bernardino] and I’m just trying to focus on me right now and leave the past behind because I have been through a lot. But I love this environment and focus right now.”
(On how Reserve League games help his development…)
MENDIOLA: “It does help me. Even though it’s ten minutes, 20 minutes, it does help me a lot. The first team might be faster, but it helps me a lot and the coaches are still telling me to improve.”
(On whether Mendiola sees his development growing…)
MENDIOLA: “I do, I do. From 14 to now, maybe it got a little quicker, but I still have to work on things and maybe get a spot soon on the Reserve team, but it takes patience and I just need to keep working.”
CARSON, Calif. – Watching a United States national team game from his couch is an entirely new endeavor for LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan and one that brings the U.S. International, no shortage of anxiety.
Sidelined with a left hamstring strain that he picked up during the U.S.’ 1-0 victory over the Mexico in August, Donovan has missed the last five games for the Galaxy and was left home during the U.S.’ vital World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica. Although Donovan admitted that the U.S. could have done better, he was pleased with the result.
“It was good that we got the win yesterday,” Donovan told reporters after training on Wednesday. “I think that we probably have to have higher expectations for ourselves. We clearly need to get out of this stage, but it was definitely a building block yesterday. I thought we played a little bit better and a lot of stress was relieved when we won the game and they blew the whistle at the end.”
The U.S. all-time leading goal scorer was particularly pleased with the way that the Americans bounced back from a disappointing 2-1 defeat in Kingston last Friday, setting up what some described as a “must win” match in Columbus on Tuesday.
“I thought that including Stevie (Cherundolo) and Carlos (Bocanegra) was a no brainer and you could see the difference that those two made when they were on the field, not only from their soccer, but their leadership and what they can provide. That was a big boost and they played really well.”
Seemingly fit for Friday’s match against the Colorado Rapids, Donovan will likely be back in action when the U.S. resumes their World Cup qualifying in mid-October. A date that Donovan admits can’t arrive any sooner after more than a few tense moments watching the Jamaica game on his couch.
“To be honest, it gives me a lot of anxiety. I hate watching and sometimes I prefer not to watch because it’s not fun. Yesterday was sweaty palms and just praying for the goal to come. Thankfully the goal came and then when the whistle blew at the end, throughout U.S. Soccer there was a sigh of relief.”